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The Arab Spring on the verge of oblivion - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A state of re-evaluation and concern now prevails among many observers interested in the affairs of the Arab world, in the wake of successive revolutions and their subsequent repercussions; a phenomenon that has come to be known as the “Arab Spring”. Some believe that this Arab Spring has been diverted from its original noble goals and hijacked from the younger generation, who dazzled the world and captured the imagination in an unprecedented fashion.

We have seen these revolutions hijacked by hardline religious currents, imposing their “alien” views upon people in an alarming manner at times, and at other times prompting ridicule. Elsewhere, other views imposed have been imposed by tribes or clans, which only care for their own personal gains and nothing else, thereby delivering an overall limited insight that serves as kindling for sedition, something that could lead to a raging inferno in the future. As usual, it only takes a small spark to ignite a large fire. Then there are the anarchists who feel a great sense of loss, and in a revengeful manner have seized the opportunity presented by the ongoing chaos and confusion to stir up fear in all those they believe have “triumphed”; i.e. those who reaped political benefits from the revolutions and their repercussions.

Meanwhile, others see what is happening as a natural occurrence during the massive upheavals that people, nations and regions go through. These upheavals influence peoples’ psychology, make them lose self-confidence and render them fearful of the unknown. Hence, their initial reactions are violent and confused. But soon they will become stable again and accustomed to their new situation. Production will increase once again as citizens start to accept the changes in a natural way, and co-exist as before. But, of course, the big problem is that confusion, worry, fear and suspicion are all incredibly strong, overwhelming emotions that block reason and insight, and make judgments more difficult. Consequently, we see a lot of blundering and floundering, as is the case is now.

Any new situation, regardless of its nature, has its winners and losers. Both are either trying to maximize their benefits or minimize their losses.

There are many different elements and ways to further inflame conflicts and disputes existing between different parties on the surface. Perhaps the two most significant, effective and dangerous of all are the media on the one hand and the economy on the other. Today, the media is being used with force and malice to twist facts, highlight certain personalities, and influence the public, sometimes in in order to bury the truth, and other times to draw attention to a story favoring certain parties for different political and economic reasons. As for economic influence, money is still the most powerful element capable of “determining” positions, buying the public’s conscience, and changing stances, principles and slogans.

It would not be an exaggeration if I described the current assessments by some of the original Arab Spring enthusiasts as a state of regret towards the latest developments, and nostalgia for the good old days, as evidenced by their comparisons between how things were and how they have become. Yet this is exactly what some parties want. They fear the “complete” success of the Arab Spring, fearing the total and comprehensive reform of the destructive principles that led to the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. Thus, for these parties, it is imperative to deal with the current events in such a way to guarantee the total failure of the Arab Spring and make people hate, fear and dread this phenomenon which at first seemed beautiful. They seek to turn it into something barbaric, ugly and wrong. Those fearing the “complete” success of the Arab Spring have begun to question the revolutionaries’ intentions, goals and aims, gradually associating them with the enemies, traitors, deviants and outside agents. This is the power of the media and money to change a situation from one state to another entirely.

The Arab Spring is threatened by authoritarian parties acting under different guises, striving to repress freedom, undermine dignity and crush hope, because they lived and continue to live under the principles of despotism, tyranny and absolute power. They adopt various means and different names, but these parties all serve the same purpose in the end.

The Arab Spring is not lost yet, but it is being exposed to a hidden and malicious war. Hence it is crucial to guard against this and confront such attempts. The Arab people deserve dignity and freedom just like the rest of the world.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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